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Links 3/12/2010: Gnome Shell And Zeitgeist, RabbitMQ 2.2.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 2:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • HP’s DreamScreen 400 is the touchscreen Linux desktop you’ll never own

    “What’s this thing? It looks pretty cool. What pretty icons! Can I touch them? I can, really?” Etc. That basically describes our infantile thought process when we stumbled across the DreamScreen 400 (not to be confused with the DreamScreen photo frame line), a new all-in-one desktop from HP, but suddenly it all became clear: this thing is built for the Indian market, and us chubby Americans will have to keep on dreaming. Still, it’s an interesting thought experiment.

  • A 50-monitor Setup Powered by a 25-node Linux Cluster

    I stumbled upon a website that showcases a 50-monitor setup powered by a 25 Linux cluster, which I think is awesome and could easily win any Linux workspace contest if qualified. The display is composed of fifty 21-inch touch-screen monitors that can run at a resolution of at least 12800×5120 (65,536,000 pixels).

  • Super-Duper Linux Computers

    Everyone who follows super-computers knows that they run on Linux. Just one look at the latest Top 500 SuperComputer list confirms that. Today 91.8% of all super-computers run Linux. Alas, if you look at the latest list, you’ll also see that the U.S. now trails China in the super-computers. IBM’s new CMOS Integrated Silicon Nanophotonics chips, though, should soon put the U.S. back in the lead.

  • Is Linux still an option for enterprise?

    “I’ve seen some organisations using a cut-down version of Linux and running a remote desktop client to a [virtual machine] to run those applications, so there’s ways of getting around it,” he adds.

  • Where does Linux want to go these days?

    Linux is one of the most flexible and suitable operating system for just about any purpose that I know of. It can be found everywhere from phones to toasters, supercomputers to computers smaller than a pack of cigarettes. It handles large amounts of money as well as your private, personal Internet surfing with equal ease.

    Linux is a formless amoeba which is able to mould itself to what ever container it is poured into. But does it have any direction? Does the very act of Linux being pulled in several directions at once stretch this computing amoeba membrane thin and at risk of tearing?

  • The real problem with Java in Linux distros

    There is nothing sufficiently wrong with Java that would cause it to uniformly be a second-class citizen on every distro. It is a widely-used language, especially in the corporate world. It has a vibrant open source community. On servers, it generated very interesting stable (Tomcat) and cutting-edge (Hadoop, Cassandra…) projects. So what grudge do the distributions hold against Java ?

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • The People Who Support Linux: Late IT Bloomer Falls Hard for the OS

      Matt Bridger says he is “a bit of a later developer, IT-wise.” He received his first degree in History and during that time, he rarely came close to a computer. But the increasing relevance of computing around him could not be ignored, says Matt, both in the workplace and in everyday life. He soon found himself providing IT support to colleagues while working at the University of Cambridge, which is where he first encountered Linux. The OS was being used to manage academic archives and the faculty website.

      Matt says that he once he discovered Linux, he was immediately drawn to open source because of the values of collaboration and sharing. He said Linux’ strength in powering software and systems made the magnetism even stronger.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Ubuntu 11.04 May Still Get Nouveau Gallium3D

        Canonical has been using the Nouveau DRM/KMS driver since Ubuntu 10.04 LTS for providing 2D acceleration and kernel mode-setting for NVIDIA hardware on an open-source driver by default, but they haven’t yet shipped the Nouveau Gallium3D driver that would provide OpenGL acceleration support (along with OpenVG, OpenGL ES, and the other APIs accelerated by Gallium3D state trackers). Their reasoning for holding back on shipping the Nouveau Gallium3D component by default (though it is available through an experimental package) has been that the upstream Nouveau developers haven’t yet declared it stable and are unwilling to take bug reports against the driver. Canonical though may be in the process of reevaluating their Nouveau Gallium3D decision and this 3D driver could end up appearing in Ubuntu 11.04.

      • X.Org Server 1.10 Merge Window Remains Open

        While the merge window was supposed to close yesterday for X.Org Server 1.10, which is supposed to be released in February, it looks like Keith Packard will keep it open for a few more days. Keith Packard, who is continuing to serve as the X.Org Server release manager, wants to keep the 1.10 merge window open until at least next Monday so he can pull in some new code he has been developing.

      • NVIDIA Tries To Put Fence Sync Into X Server 1.10

        X.Org Server 1.10 was just looking to be a big bug-fix release to the X.Org Server with no major features being introduced, up until the merge window was about to be closed. Then last night it was proposed by Keith Packard, the xorg-server 1.10 release manager, to keep it open a few extra days so that he could finally merge the per-CRTC pixmap support. This work alone is nice and is long awaited, but now NVIDIA’s James Jones is calling for pulling another feature that’s had code available for months: X Synchronization Fences.

      • First Ubuntu Translations Videocast
      • The LoCo Council Optimizes LoCo Teams For Success
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • [KDE Commit-Digest] 31st October 2010

        Improved map management and support for exporting routes in the KML format in Marble. Support for showing/hiding the bottom page bar in Okular. An option to create QML Plasmoids added to Plasmate. Support for GetHotNewStuff in the Pastebin Plasmoid. Work to increase the number of supported rows in KSpread. Pidgin support added to the “IMStatus” function of Choqok. Animated tiles in KMahjongg. Various work in KDE-PIM. Start of filtering (no GUI yet) integrated into KMail Mobile. Long-awaited ability to set custom button labels for yes, no, continue and cancel buttons in KDialog. “Find links only” option added to the “find bar” in KHTML. More work in kdebindings/perl. New activity manager daemon (with the KDED and Nepomuk service merged into a separate application). Facet API into imported into libnepomuk. Timestamp functionality added to KSharedDataCache to support KGameRenderer and similar libraries. Support for shutdown/restart when there is no active display manager (using ConsoleKit) in KDisplayManager. PolicyKit-kde removed from kdebase. KOffice 2.3 Beta 3 is tagged for release.

      • The Open-PC starts not with one or two but with three models and partners

        Today is the big day. The sale of the Open-PC starts. The first PC which is build by the free software community and not by a big company. Everybody can contribute. The Open-PC is using only free software and drivers.
        The good news is that we are not starting with one or two but with three manufacturing partners and models. We are working together with ARLT and greeniX in Germany and ThinkPenguin in the US and we are looking for more partners in other countries.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gnome Shell And Zeitgeist

        Gnome Shell and Unity may have started on separate paths, but they are definitely heading to the same direction. Seif Lotfy has just posted a screenshot (not mockup!) of his current work: Zeitgeist and Gnome Shell…

      • GNOME Shell + Zeitgeist = ?

        Unity has it. KDE is getting it. So I took the liberty of hacking on Shell (thanks to the guys on #gnome-shell)

        After 2 days (no JS experiece) I wrote the JS DBus bindings around Zeitgeist and did this…

      • Bringing Sexy back to GNOME Shell with Zeitgeist

        Seif Lotfy – Zeitgeist creator, hacker and all round semantic solider – has spent the last few days bringing Zeitgeist love to GNOME Shell.

  • Distributions

    • MythTV Developers Plan Xv, XvMC, OpenGL Changes

      MythTV 0.24 was released one month ago on their expedited release schedule, but the developers of this popular free software multimedia project are beginning to focus on their next release: MythTV 0.25. This release will drop support for XvMC (X-Video Motion Compensation) and libmpeg2 decoding and they also plan to drop Xv (X-Video) support in due time as well.

    • The Slacker’s Fav Linux List

      Here’s what I like. They’re all good. However, like anyone, I have my personal favorites. Here goes…

    • New Releases

      • RabbitMQ 2.2.0 released

        RabbitMQ, part of VMWare’s SpringSource division, has released version 2.2.0 of its open source enterprise messaging system based on the AMQP specification. According to the developers, the latest version addresses a variety of bugs found in the previous release and introduces several enhancements.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 3.0 “Iveland” Alpha 3

        Two weeks have passed since the release of Iveland Alpha 2, but now it’s time for the third alpha release for the Phoronix Test Suite 3.0 “Iveland” benchmarking platform. Quite a number of changes have built up over such a short period of time as this release nears OpenBenchmarking.org integration and ready for its planned release in Q1’2011.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Here’s one reason I’m glad to be off the bleeding edge and running Debian
      • Debian Security Advisory

        MIT krb5 clients incorrectly accept an unkeyed checksums in the SAM-2 preauthentication challenge: An unauthenticated remote attacker could alter a SAM-2 challenge, affecting the prompt text seen by the user or the kind of response sent to the KDC. Under some circumstances, this can negate the incremental security benefit of using a single-use authentication mechanism token.

      • Debian Security Advisory

        Bui Quang Minh discovered that libxml2, a library for parsing and handling XML data files, does not well process a malformed XPATH, causing crash and allowing arbitrary code execution.

      • Linux Mint Debian 64bit To Be Released In December

        Linux Mint Debian offers the “ready to use” Linux Mint experience in a rolling release Linux distribution. Until now, LMDE was only available in 32bit, but an announcement on the Linux Mint blog states that Linux Mint Debian 64bit will be released in December.

      • LMDE News

        A new LMDE release is planned this December including the following:

        * All Linux Mint 10 features
        * Support for i386 and amd64 architectures
        * Improvements to the installer, fonts and sound support
        * Performance boost

      • Debian and Ubuntu – collaboration and issues

        This little or perhaps slightly long post would detail the good and bad I have been observing within the Debian community and the influence that Ubuntu has been having, for both good and bad .

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • How To: Install Android Market In The Android Emulator

          Being an Android developer, I’ve been baffled by the absence of the Android Market in the Android SDK. The absence makes it inconvenient for us to develop because we find it difficult to install our favourite apps like DiskUsage. With necessary limitations in place Google should have included the Market app as part of the SDK to make the emulator experience closer to real life.

        • The Android Google Reader app is here!

          It’s been a long time coming, but the official Google Reader app for Android is finally here. Let’s jump into the features, shall we?

        • 50 Percent of Smartphones Sold in China Last Quarter Run Android

          The smartphone market in China is growing at an extraordinary rate, largely thanks to Google’s Android OS. Chinese consumers purchased 8 to 10 million smartphones last quarter, up from an estimated 2 to 3 million in the same period last year. And according to Morgan Keegan analyst Tavis McCourt, the bulk of them ran Android.

Free Software/Open Source

  • ForgeRock announces first authorized US training partner

    GCA Technology Services was chosen for its reputation and proven track record in developing and delivering world class identity management and web infrastructure training, as well as its wide-reaching US training delivery infrastructure. The company has a 100% client referral rate, and trained more than 2000 delegates in 2010.

  • Live from the Party of European Socialists Council

    The PES -who sponsored the development of the badge feature- used civievent for the first time at a big scale: their council in warsow. You might see some bits of it in the news, like the greek prime minister that just finished his speech, but only on this blog will you know more about part of the logistic of such a big event, and how civicrm helped it.

  • Why Identi.ca (and Status.net) matter in a Twitter world

    Let’s immediately agree on the obvious question: Why would anyone use Identi.ca when everyone is on Twitter?

    Basically, this is the same question as “Why use Diaspora when everyone is on Facebook?”, “Why use Facebook when everyone is on MySpace?”, “Why use MySpace when everyone is on Friendster?”, or the good old “Why use XMPP when everyone is on MSN?” and “Why use MSN when everyone is on ICQ?”.

    By now, I think most of you see where I’m going with this…

    There is always a network that is more popular than others at a given point in time, without it being an obvious guarantee of said network’s quality.
    This is simply the case because a network’s value is equal to its number of users squared. This is called Metcalfe’s Law.

  • Local business, Local jobs

    The press has been alive the past several days with news of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, where the police have been going in and rounding up drug dealers. From the amount of press and police actions, some people outside of Brazil must think that all of the people in the favela are thieves or drug dealers.

    I went to a favela in Rio de Janeiro a few weeks ago while I was on a trip to Brazil. I was invited by a very interesting guy who was born in the favela, and started his “business career” by selling trinkets to the tourists on the beach. He taught himself how to speak three languages besides Portuguese, and in a short time he realized that he could make more money if he bought his trinkets off-season instead of waiting for the prices to rise in season. Later in life he taught himself computers and networking, and finally set up a wireless network infrastructure inside the favela. People laughed at him and told him that there would not be enough business, but by careful planning his little company is growing and the favela is benefiting from the connectivity.

  • Firefox: freedom’s just another word for ‘kerching!’

    Stallman has long criticized the more pragmatic half of the open-source community for its somewhat libertarian approach to licensing, a la Apache and BSD. Yet in an age of web-delivered software-as-services, an age that treats Stallman’s GPL with absolute indifference, Stallman expressly demurred from baking in a broader definition of “distribution” into version three of the GPL. My sources suggest that this was a direct consequence of Google applying pressure to the Free Software Foundation.

    When then-general counsel of the FSF, Eben Moglen, gave a keynote at the Open Source Business Conference in 2007, he was asked about the FSF’s decision not to close the so-called “ASP loophole” in the GPL that allowed companies like Google to heavily modify GPL code and distribute it as a service, without contributing commensurately back. In early drafts of GPLv3, the FSF had defined “distribution” to effectively bar network-based software distribution, but in the final draft it was purged, and then whimpered its way into the GPL’s ugly stepchild, Affero GPL.

  • The 6 dimensions of Open Source

    Why do people choose to participate in Open Source ? It’s always a mix of various reasons, so let’s try to explore and classify them.

  • Events

    • FOSDEM 2011: Call for presentations

      The eleventh annual Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting (FOSDEM) will take place on the 5th and 6th of February, 2011 in Brussels, Belgium. The KDE organisers have announced that they are now accepting submissions for talks to take place in the Cross Desktop Developer Room (DevRoom) on any KDE related topic.

    • Anti-harassment Policy for Open Source Conferences

      Valerie Aurora wrote an excellent article for lwn.net, The Dark Side of Open Source Conferences. Currently, the article is only available to lwn.net subscribers, but you can write to Valerie to get the link, or wait until the post is publicly available in a few days.

  • Databases

    • MariaDB And Trademark

      I’d like to wish Henrik Ingo well now that he has publicly announced his resignation from Monty Program. Henrik, I especially wish you all the best with the new member of your family.

      I know you put a lot of effort into your presentation to the Monty Program board regarding transfer of trademark ownership, and you know (and I do not mind saying externally) that I supported transfer to a non-profit designed for such purposes. Our informal, non-inclusive vote in Istanbul aside, I think the company as a whole should put a lot of thought into such matters. I would always hope the board would do the same.

      And it is my understanding that this is what is happening. Not that the board made a final decision to maintain trademark ownership, but that they decided more research and discussion are needed. And despite my knee-jerk reaction to go the Debian trademark route, I came to Monty Program from Canonical. Wiser legal and business minds have decided to retain the Ubuntu trademark for Canonical. Just as Red Hat has retained the Fedora trademark. So despite my inclinations I have to ask why others have chosen differently.

  • Oracle

    • Larry Ellison Hearsay: “We Can’t Be Successful if We Don’t Lie to Customers”

      Bruce Scott, the co-founder of Oracle says, “I remember him very distinctly telling me one time: Bruce, we can’t be successful unless we lie to customers.” And adds: “All the things that you would read in books of somebody being a leader, he wasn’t. But he was tenacious; he would never give up on anything.”

    • Oracle claims trademark on Hudson open source
    • Oracle asserts non-existent open source trademark
    • Unhappy with Oracle: Hudson looks for a new home

      Dissatisfied with the infrastructure at Oracle’s java.net project hosting web site, the developers of the Hudson Continuous Integration technology are considering finding a new home at GitHub. The developers appear to have been unhappy for a while, and it seems that their dissatisfaction continues, although Oracle, after taking over Sun, soon started to migrate the Java portal to the more modern Kenai infrastructure.

    • [zfs-discuss] ZFS imported into GRUB

      Following our new strategy with regard to Oracle code, we (GRUB maintainers) have decided to grant an exception to our usual policy and import ZFS code from grub-extras into official GRUB.

      Our usual policy is to require copyright assignment for all new code, so that FSF can use it to defend users’ freedom in court. If that’s not possible, at least a disclaimer asserting authorship (i.e. that no copyright infringement has been committed). The purpose of this, as always, is ensuring that GRUB is a legally safe codebase.

      The ZFS code that has been imported into GRUB derives from the OpenSolaris version of GRUB Legacy. On one hand, this code was released to the public under the terms of the GNU GPL. On the other, binary releases of Solaris included this modified GRUB, and as a result Oracle/Sun is bound by the GPL.

  • Education

    • Student participation in open source projects (A professor’s perspective)

      I must start by thanking Mel Chua for visiting us in Connecticut and for prompting/prodding me to think more deeply about how open source and academia work together to accomplish education. I believe I now have a better picture of student and academic participation in open source projects.

      At first look, student participation in open source projects seems like it should be relatively easy to accomplish. Sure, from a teaching perspective there are issues related to selecting a project, learning curve for the project, finding a mentor, identifying ways that students can participate, figuring out how to grade things, and more. But these things are surmountable.


    • #Bookzilla and #Amazon Affiliate fees

      The Free Software Foundation Europe relies on donations to be an independent voice. Our donors and Fellows help us to achive that with continous support. Another possibility to support FSFE is through some support programs . Some of you already know these programs, some don’t. I will try here to briefly present how these programs works and then present the incomes we receive through them.

  • Government

    • PT: Parliamentarians propose to make open standards mandatory

      Two left-wing political parties in the Portuguese parliament want to make the use of open standards mandatory for public administrations. Next week Friday, the parliament will discuss two motions, filed by the Left Bloc, with sixteen of the 230 seats in the parliament, and the Portuguese Communist Party, which has thirteen seats.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Must the Future of Work Mean Information Overload?
  • The computer, monitor and desk merge in BendDesk

    Researchers from Aachen University’s Media Computing Group have created a computer workstation where the desk and screen are transformed into one multi-touch display. The display is curved at the middle and uses infrared emitters and cameras to track user movement over the whole of the surface, which has its graphical user interface beamed onto it by a couple of short throw projectors hidden within its wooden frame.

  • How to Freak Out Your Neighbors
  • Embracing New Opportunities Is Being Defeatist?

    A few months back a columnist for the Guardian, Helienne Lindvall wrote a laughably confused argument claiming that people who explained how “free” was an important element of a business model should not be trusted because they also made money. That made no sense, and lots of people explained why. She also got an awful lot of the basic facts wrong.

    Lindvall is back, and rather than admitting her mistakes, she tries again, but comes across as even more confused and factually-challenged. The majority of the piece is about setting up more strawmen to knock over, with the two key ones being (1) that supporters of embracing new business models are “defeatist” because they suggest that file sharing cannot be stopped and (2) that while record labels may have ripped off musicians in the past, the companies ripping off musicians today are the “web 2.0″ companies that are making money on content — such as Google, Flickr and others.

  • Gawker Is A Blog. Just Like Twitter.
  • FOX News Publishes Article from “The Onion” as Real News, Then Removes it After They are Called Out

    This morning, an article and comment thread related to a piece of satire the site and its readers took seriously, went missing.

  • The Road Not Taken

    In the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse, the relationship between the newly independent Republic of Moldova and the formerly Communist Romania was dominated by the rhetoric of “the bridge of flowers over the river Prut” (the natural border between the two countries). Although the metaphor of brotherhood failed to be translated into geopolitical unity, the facts underlying it (a shared past, culture, religion, and most importantly, a common language, although Moldova begs to differ on the subject) made it inevitable that the fates of the two countries should remain entwined.

  • Science

    • Dolly reborn! Four clones created of sheep that changed science

      The quads, which have been nicknamed ‘the Dollies’, are exact genetic copies of their predecessor, who was put down seven years ago.

    • NASA Finds New Life (Updated)

      NASA has discovered a new life form, a bacteria called GFAJ-1 that is unlike anything currently living in planet Earth. It’s capable of using arsenic to build its DNA, RNA, proteins, and cell membranes. This changes everything.

    • (Don’t) Keep it Simple

      The newsroom at the New York Times is seen as editorial staffers work feverishly to prepare a Monday edition, in this Nov. 5, 1978 file photo. The chaotic newsroom culture of the mainstream media has not been a good platform for informed science journalism.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Wikileaks and the El-Masri case: Innocent CIA torture victim more than just a leaked cable

      When Wikileaks released thousands of classified US diplomatic cables this week, a familiar criticism was repeated by the project’s foes: these leaks could harm innocent people. There’s no evidence of that yet, but within the documents there is evidence the American government has harmed innocent people.

    • Wikileaks: So, this is what cyberwar looks like

      A couple of days ago we wrote a small post thinking about ways in which Wikileaks could be taken off the Web. The conclusion was that Wikileaks might survive almost any type of concerted effort to remove it from the Internet. I was not really expecting the strength with which those words would be tested in the last few days.

    • Valerie Plame, YES! Wikileaks, NO!

      In my recent article Ward Churchill: The Lie Lives On (Pravda.Ru, 11/29/2010), I discussed the following realities about America’s legal “system”: it is duplicitous and corrupt; it will go to any extremes to insulate from prosecution, and in many cases civil liability, persons whose crimes facilitate this duplicity and corruption; it has abdicated its responsibility to serve as a “check-and-balance” against the other two branches of government, and has instead been transformed into a weapon exploited by the wealthy, the corporations, and the politically connected to defend their criminality, conceal their corruption and promote their economic interests; and, finally, that the oft-quoted adage “Nobody is above the law” is a lie.

      Some critics were quick to dismiss my article as politically motivated hyperbole. But with the recent revelations disclosed by Wikileaks, it appears that this article did not even scratch the surface, because it is now evident that Barack Obama, who entered the White House with optimistic messages of change and hope, is just as complicit in, and manipulative of, the legal “system’s” duplicity and corruption as was his predecessor George W. Bush.

    • WikiLeaks fights to stay online after US company withdraws domain name

      The US was today accused of opening up a dramatic new front against WikiLeaks, effectively “killing” its web address just days after Amazon pulled the site from its servers following political pressure.

      The whistleblowers’ website went offline for the third time in a week this morning, in the biggest threat to its online presence yet.

    • Candid Comment: WikiLeaks’ ‘cablegate’ good for journalism

      Reports say WikiLeaks and its members have complained about continuing harassment and surveillance by law enforcement and intelligence organisations, including extended detention, seizure of computers, veiled threats, “covert following and hidden photography”.

    • Cablegate highlights America’s deep role in Pak’s power politics
    • Meet the Most Dangerous Man in Cyberspace: The American Face of Wikileaks

      American hacker Jacob Appelbaum fights repressive regimes around the world. Now he’s on the run from his own government

    • WikiLeaks not critical for Russia-US relations – Medvedev

      The recently released WikiLeaks diplomatic cables are not critical for Russian-US relations, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday. “The leaks show the full extent of the cynicism of those evaluations and judgments that often prevail in the foreign policy of various states, in this case I am referring to the United States,” Medvedev said.

    • Wikileaks chief: What will he do next?

      Despite accusations that Julian Assange is on the run, The Independent has learnt that Scotland Yard has been in contact with his legal team for more than a month but is waiting for further instruction before arresting him. Police forces around the globe have been asked to arrest the enigmatic Wikileaks founder, who is wanted in Sweden to answer a series of sexual allegations against him.

      But the 39-year-old Australian supplied the Metropolitan Police with contact details upon arriving in the UK in October. Police sources confirmed that they have a telephone number for Mr Assange and are fully aware of where he is staying.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Secret deal let Americans sidestep cluster bomb ban

      British and American officials colluded in a plan to hoodwink parliament over a proposed ban on cluster bombs, the Guardian can disclose.

      According to leaked US embassy dispatches, David Miliband, who was Britain’s foreign secretary under Labour, approved the use of a loophole to manoeuvre around the ban and allow the US to keep the munitions on British territory.

      Unlike Britain, the US had refused to sign up to an international convention that bans the weapons because of the widespread injury they cause to civilians.

      The US military asserted that cluster bombs were “legitimate weapons that provide a vital military capability” and wanted to carry on using British bases regardless of the ban.

    • WikiLeaks cables claim first scalp as German minister’s aide is sacked

      The WikiLeaks revelations have claimed their first political scalp in Europe with the sacking of the German foreign minister’s chief of staff, who acted as a mole for the Americans, keeping the US embassy in Berlin posted last year on the confidential negotiations to form Angela Merkel’s new government.

    • The Birth of a Party Line

      It starts early. When the most recent Wikileaks dump broke, most of the folks in China news circles were focused on its supposed revelations about China’s support (or lack thereof) for North Korea. As the story has cooled, of course, most people have returned to earth, reminded that these cables represent the diplomatic equivalent to water-cooler gossip. But the Chinese government was, needless to say, paying close attention, and yesterday the Global Times ran an op-ed that betrays just how threatened they are by the idea of Wikileaks, even if the egg is on America’s face this go-round.

    • Turkey to sue US diplomats over Wikileaks claims

      Contrary to other European leaders who downplayed the importance of sometimes unflattering reports about them in the US diplomatic cables revealed by Wikileaks, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he was working on legal action against claims that he owned eight secret Swiss bank accounts.

    • Mark Ruffalo on terror advisory list

      Actor Mark Ruffalo has been placed on a terror advisory list by U.S. officials after organizing screenings for a new documentary about natural gas drilling.

    • Banishing WikiLeaks?
    • Julian Assange answers your questions

      Julian Assange:
      Many weirdos email us about UFOs or how they discovered that they were the anti-christ whilst talking with their ex-wife at a garden party over a pot-plant. However, as yet they have not satisfied two of our publishing rules.
      1) that the documents not be self-authored;
      2) that they be original.
      However, it is worth noting that in yet-to-be-published parts of the cablegate archive there are indeed references to UFOs.

    • Interpol Issues ‘Red Notice’ for Arrest of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange
    • Cyber-Con

      The person getting all the attention was Dorsey, because by then Twitter was all anyone wanted to talk about. In fact one reason we know so much about the trip is that Dorsey and his colleagues spent much of their time tweeting about it, sending news of their journey in electronic haiku to their followers back home. ‘Lots of helicopters,’ Dorsey observed on his Twitter feed: ‘Met the president of Iraq. Amazing palace.’ In another tweet, he tells his followers that he’s been ‘talking to Iraqis to figure out if technologies like Twitter can help bring transparency, accessibility and stability to the area’. When he finds a wi-fi network in the presidential palace, he says how happy he is to be back online: ‘Catching up on the rest of the world.’ ‘Lots going on out there!’ he writes. Barham Salih’s inaugural tweet was less upbeat: ‘Sorry, my first tweet not pleasant; dust storm in Baghdad today & yet another suicide bomb. Awful reminder that it is not yet all fine here.’

    • We need urgently those 115 cables tagged KIPR Madrid Embassy

      I was kindly invited yesterday by Spanish newspaper El País to participate in a digital debate, “Transparency versus security” (only in Spanish), where I asked when would we be able to access to the content of 115 cables tagged KIPR Madrid Embassy (link to Google fusion tables).

    • Amnesty International say police bill will let war criminals go free

      Britain was accused by Amnesty International of handing a “free ticket” to suspected war criminals after the government published parliamentary legislation designed to make it more difficult to arrest Israeli officials and ministers on British soil.

    • TSA recommends using sexual predator tactics to calm kids at checkpoints

      TSA regional security director James Marchand advises parents whose kids are upset by TSA groping to make a game of it, a suggestion that alarmed sex-abuse prevention experts, since “Telling a child that they are engaging in a game is ‘one of the most common ways’ that sexual predators use to convince children to engage in inappropriate contact.”

    • French minister declares war on WikiLeaks

      Éric Besson, the Minister of Industry, Energy and Digital Economy in France, has declared war on WikiLeaks (article in French here).

      Besson has asked CGIET (The General Council of Industry, Energy and Technology) to stop the site being hosted in France, as this violates secret diplomatic relations and endangers the people protected by those secrets.

    • UK overruled on Lebanon spy flights from Cyprus, WikiLeaks cables reveal

      American officials swept aside British protests about secret US spy flights taking place from the UK’s Cyprus airbase, the leaked diplomatic cables reveal.

      Labour ministers said they feared making the UK an unwitting accomplice to torture, and were upset about rendition flights going on behind their backs.

    • Amazon and WikiLeaks – Online Speech is Only as Strong as the Weakest Intermediary

      The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression against government encroachment – but that doesn’t help if the censorship doesn’t come from the government.

      The controversial whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, which has begun to publish a trove of over 250,000 classified diplomatic cables, found itself kicked off of Amazon’s servers earlier this week. WikiLeaks had apparently moved from a hosting platform in Sweden to the cloud hosting services available through Amazon in an attempt to ward off ongoing distributed denial of service attacks.


      Importantly, the government itself can’t take official action to silence WikiLeaks’ ongoing publications – that would be an unconstitutional prior restraint, or censorship of speech before it can be communicated to the public. No government actor can nix WikiLeaks’ right to publish content any more than the government could stop the New York Times and Washington Post from publishing the Pentagon Papers, which were also stolen secret government documents.

    • The Internet’s Voltaire Moment

      The weaknesses are not caused by Wikileaks. The Internet-mediated transition from a hub-and-spoke topology of society to a meshed topology is the ultimate cause. It renders irrelevant the control-point thinking from the earlier age of chains of intermediaries. In every place where individuals take up the opportunities of the meshed society, the weaknesses emerge. The challenge by established computer corporations to open source, for example, is a direct consequence.

    • ACLU: Prosecuting WikiLeaks For Publishing Documents Would Raise Serious Constitutional Concerns

      The ACLU has released a statement by Hina Shamsi, Director of the ACLU National Security Project:

      “We’re deeply skeptical that prosecuting WikiLeaks would be constitutional, or a good idea. The courts have made clear that the First Amendment protects independent third parties who publish classified information. Prosecuting WikiLeaks would be no different from prosecuting the media outlets that also published classified documents. If newspapers could be held criminally liable for publishing leaked information about government practices, we might never have found out about the CIA’s secret prisons or the government spying on innocent Americans. Prosecuting publishers of classified information threatens investigative journalism that is necessary to an informed public debate about government conduct, and that is an unthinkable outcome.

    • [Daniel Ellsberg's Website] Open Letter to Amazon.com

      I’m disgusted by Amazon’s cowardice and servility in abruptly terminating its hosting of the Wikileaks website, in the face of threats from Senator Joe Lieberman and other Congressional right-wingers. I want no further association with any company that encourages legislative and executive officials to aspire to China’s control of information and deterrence of whistle-blowing.

    • Joe Lieberman emulates Chinese dictators

      Revelations by the organization WikiLeaks have received blanket coverage this week on television, in newspapers and on Web sites around the globe. But in parts of the world where the leaks have some of the greatest potential to sow controversy, they have barely caused a ripple.

      Authoritarian governments and tightly controlled media in China and across the Arab Middle East have suppressed virtually all mention of the documents, avoiding the public backlash that could result from such candid portrayals of their leaders’ views.

      In China, the WikiLeaks site has been blocked by the government’s “Great Firewall,” and access to other sources for the documents has been restricted. Most Chinese are unable to read the contents of the diplomatic cables. . . .

    • Boycott Amazon Until it Hosts WikiLeaks on Its Servers

      WikiLeaks has exposed official wrongdoing and countless war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, serving as a vital conduit of information the U.S. government has tried to keep hidden from its own citizens — and which deserves to be free. Yet Amazon.com recently kicked WikiLeaks off its servers all because one politician, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, asked. That’s not right.

    • Jay Rosen on Wikileaks: “The watchdog press died; we have this instead.”
    • WikiLeaks Domain Name Killed (and Why It Won’t Kill WikiLeaks)

      At around 10PM EST last night, WikiLeaks was no longer accessible at the wikileaks.org web address. That’s the end of that, right?


      The site is still accessible through several alternate domain names (wikileaks.ch, wikileaks.dd19.de, wikileeks.org.uk, to name a few), all of which point to its machine-readable IP address:

    • Who precisely is attacking the world?

      The stuck pigs are squealing. To shift the onus from the US State Department, Hillary Clinton paints Wikileaks’ release of the “diplomatic cables” as an “attack on the international community.” To reveal truth is equivalent in the eyes of the US government to an attack on the world.

      It is Wikileaks’ fault that all those US diplomats wrote a quarter of a million undiplomatic messages about America’s allies, a.k.a., puppet states. It is also Wikileaks’ fault that a member of the US government could no longer stomach the cynical ways in which the US government manipulates foreign governments to serve, not their own people, but American interests, and delivered the incriminating evidence to Wikileaks.

      The US government actually thinks that it was Wikileaks patriotic duty to return the evidence and to identify the leaker. After all, we mustn’t let the rest of the world find out what we are up to. They might stop believing our lies.

    • Attempts to Suppress Wikileaks

      The US Government doesn’t get it. The truth is out there and attacking the messenger does nothing to fix their tarnished image. What about the stupidity of distributing the stuff internally to millions of people and assuming it would never leak? What about the stupidity of spying on the world and assuming the world will continue to trust the USA? What about the stupidity of trying to hide civilian casualties when the civilians have families and can do the maths? Could the attacks on Wikileaks be a smoke-screen to hide all that? Could it be easier to wage a war than to change for the better?

  • Finance

    • Gov to resellers: Glory bonanza secrecy days are over. For real

      Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude continues to talk the talk – warning big resellers that the days of massive contracts with even bigger margins are over.

      Maude said both suppliers and civil servants would need to change.

    • MPs’ expenses: watchdog to publish details of recent claims
    • UK Uncut protesters spied upon by undercover police

      Scotland Yard has deployed undercover officers to spy on a network of activists whose viral campaign against tax avoiders threatens to close down hundreds of shops in the run-up to Christmas.

      The surveillance officers were first used at a protest in October, the Guardian can reveal, despite an assurance given to parliament last year that only officers in full uniform gather intelligence at protests.

    • Cable reveals EU’s hard feelings on Greek Cyprus accession

      The European Union had to accept Greek Cyprus’ accession despite its leader’s public campaign against a UN plan to reunite the island because member Greece would have otherwise blocked the membership of other countries, a former EU official was quoted as saying in a US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.

    • Goldman Sachs’s Emergency Loans From Fed Surpassed $24 Billion Amid Crisis

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which rebounded from the financial crisis to post record profit last year, was a regular borrower from two emergency Federal Reserve programs in 2008 and early 2009, new data show.

      The firm borrowed from the Fed’s Term Securities Lending Facility most weeks from March 2008 through April 2009, data released by the Fed today show. Two units of the New York-based firm borrowed as much as $24.2 billion from the Fed’s Primary Dealer Credit Facility in the weeks after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bankruptcy in September 2008, the data show.

    • An ugly jobs report

      The November jobs report is ugly. Last month, the jobs report showed the economy added 150,000 jobs, sparking hopes that recovery was underway. And the recent economic data had been good: Black Friday saw a lot of shoppers, and initial unemployment claims had been going down. The expectation was that November’s report would be yet another piece of good news.

      It isn’t. The economy created 39,000 jobs in November — about 160,000 fewer than it’d need to begin cutting into unemployment, and about 100,000 less than it’d need to just keep up with population growth. Speaking of unemployment, the unemployment rate edged up to 9.8 percent.

    • American misperceptions of foreign aid spending in one graph
    • Jamie Dimon: Becoming Too Big To Save – Creating Fiscal Disaster

      In Sunday’s New York Times magazine, Roger Lowenstein profiles Jamie Dimon, head of JP Morgan Chase. The piece, titled “Jamie Dimon: America’s Least-Hated Banker,” is generally sympathetic, but in every significant detail it confirms that Mr. Dimon is now – without question – our most dangerous banker.

    • Unemployed, and Likely to Stay That Way

      The longer people stay out of work, the more trouble they have finding new work.

    • Disappointing Job Growth in U.S. as Jobless Rate Hits 9.8%
    • Chris Whalen With Dylan Ratigan: Surprises From Bernanke’s Forced Disclosure
    • Deficit-cutting plan fails to advance to Capitol

      President Barack Obama’s budget deficit commission failed to garner enough support Friday to spur quick congressional action on its austere spending blueprint, but the plan will live on because a bipartisan majority on the panel embraced it.

      Commission members said that by winning over 11 of the 18 panelists, they had defied expectations. They said it showed that Washington is capable of having an “adult conversation” on a bipartisan basis about the painful choices required to avert a European-style debt crisis.

    • TARP Making a Profit.

      I think liberals are committing a conceptual mistake touting how much money was made as a result of the TARP fund.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • A radical shift in e-governance

      An Indian case study of how open standards can make an impact on the domestic technology industry and promote innovation, by offering a level-playing field for technology companies — both big and small — is the Smart Card Operating System for Transport Applications (SCOSTA).

      SCOSTA was a standard developed for smart card-based driving licences and transport-related documentation by different State governments. It was developed by the National Informatics Centre in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. Despite attempts by proprietary lobbies to make the body opt for a proprietary standard, the NIC and academics went ahead and developed an open standards, one that comprised technological specifications that were entirely royalty-free, and put up the specifications on their website. By doing so, they made a huge impact on the entire market.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • The Pirate Bay Co-Founder Starting A P2P Based DNS To Take On ICANN

      The Pirate Bay Co-Founder, Peter Sunde, has started a new project which will provide a decentralized p2p based DNS system. This is a direct result of the increasing control which the US government has over ICANN.

      The recent seizures of around 80 domains by the US authorities only goes on to show the amount of influence the government have over the internet. There is a fear that if the US Senate passes the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, such instances will increase – becoming a threat to an open internet.

    • The Men Who Stole the World

      In 1999 a Northeastern University freshman named Shawn Fanning wrote Napster, thereby pioneering peer-to-peer file sharing and a new paradigm for consuming media without the intermediary of a big studio or retailer. TIME put him on its cover, as did FORTUNE. He was 19 years old. (See the 50 Best Inventions of 2010.)

      That same year, a Norwegian teenager named Jon Lech Johansen, working with two other programmers whose identities are still unknown, wrote a program that could decrypt commercial DVDs, and he became internationally infamous as “DVD Jon.” He was 15.

      In 1997, Justin Frankel, an 18-year-old hacker in Sedona, Ariz., wrote a free MP3 player called WinAmp, which became a fixture on Windows machines and helped mainstream the digital-music revolution. During its first 18 months in release, 15 million people downloaded it. Three years later, Frankel wrote Gnutella, a peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol so decentralized that, unlike Napster, it could not be shut down. Millions of people still use it.

    • FCC Opens the Door for Metered Broadband

      It looks like the FCC isn’t ready to give up its consumer advocacy on usage-based pricing plans. An FCC spokeswoman emailed me a statement attributed to a senior FCC official that said, “Usage-based pricing can create more choice and flexibility for consumers. But practices that are arbitrary, anti-consumer, or anti-competitive would cause serious concern. The FCC will be a cop on the beat for consumers.”

    • Stop Comcast from blocking Netflix!

      FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will announce this week whether he’ll fulfill President Obama’s promise to protect the open Internet and Net Neutrality.

    • Comcast Out of Control
    • Tell Pres. Obama: Don’t sell us out on net neutrality
    • Technology firms call out the UK Government on net neutrality

      NINETEEN TECHNOLOGY HEAVYWEIGHTS have written to the UK Communications Minister and urged him to cement the Government’s stance on the open Internet.

      The open letter, which is addressed to Ed Vaizey, Jeremey Hunt and Vince Cable, said that rather than just support the idea of the open Internet in principle the Government should preserve it with legislation and enforcement from Ofcom. This they added will protect Internet users and keep ISPs from abusing their dominant position.

      The letter, which is undersigned by firms including Yahoo and Ebay, Skype and Which?, as well as the National Union of Journalists and the Open Rights Group, starts with some good words for the minister.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Fantasy & Reality in Intellectual Property Policy

      What do we really know about the costs of violations of intellectual property for national economies? Or, conversely, about the economic benefits of strengthening copyright, trademark and patent protection? You could be forgiven for thinking that we know a great deal.

      A widely quoted FBI assessment from 2002 estimated that US businesses lose between $200bn and $250bn to counterfeiting annually. A 2002 press release from the Customs and Border Patrol estimated counterfeit goods costing businesses $200bn dollars in losses annually and 750,000 jobs. The Federal Trade Commission was quoted as a source by industry groups for a claim that the American automobile industry alone loses $3bn annually from counterfeit car parts.

      Those sound like authoritative sources and scarily large numbers. Unfortunately, when the General Accounting Office – the US government’s non partisan independent watchdog – sought the basis for those figures, it found that in each case there was no methodology, there was no study. Or in the GAO report’s words, they “cannot be substantiated or traced back to an underlying data source or methodology.” The FBI and the Border Patrol at least turn out to have made the numbers up in that authoritative scholarly form, “the press release,” while the poor FTC simply had industry groups attribute numbers to it with no basis in fact.

    • Copycats called ‘innovative’

      In a rare defense of notorious copycat practices by certain Chinese manufacturers, a senior official has stated that “innovative elements” of fake products should be protected and encouraged, instead of being squashed without consideration of their intellectual property value.

    • Theft! A History of Music —Part 3: If I could turn forward time…

      “We are the first generation in history to deny our culture to ourselves,” Jennifer Jenkins said.

    • Copyrights

      • Sensing Danger, Demonoid BitTorrent Tracker Ditches .COM Domain

        Demonoid, one of the most prominent BitTorrent sites on the Internet, is ditching its .COM domain. In an announcement today the world’s biggest semi-private tracker says it will move to a .ME domain with immediate effect. The move comes as no surprise since both the MPAA and RIAA listed Demonoid in their recent submissions of “notorious markets” for pirate material.

      • After Police Raid, Mulve File-Sharing App Operator Cleared Of Wrong Doing

        After being in quiet development for some months, in September the Mulve music downloading app hit the mainstream. Very quickly everything went sour, with British police swooping on the guy who registered the Mulve domain and placing him under arrest on a range of charges from copyright infringement through to conspiracy to defraud. Today we can report the outcome. For once it’s good news.

      • Making Copyright Work Better Online

        But along with this new wave of creators come some bad apples who use the Internet to infringe copyright. As the web has grown, we have seen a growing number of issues relating to infringing content. We respond expeditiously to requests to remove such content from our services, and have been improving our procedures over time. But as the web grows, and the number of requests grows with it, we are working to develop new ways to better address the underlying problem.

      • Free as a bard

        SUPPOSE for a moment that the gloomiest predictions for the music business turn out to be correct. Efforts by governments and record companies to shut down file-sharing websites like the Pirate Bay fail. Piracy becomes so entrenched that people simply stop buying legitimate CDs. Customers drift away from Apple’s iTunes store, which sells digital music tracks. They refuse to pay even trivial monthly subscriptions for music-download services like Pandora and streaming outfits like Spotify. Improbable? Not at all. In China, this worst-case scenario has already come to pass

Clip of the Day

The Yes Men Fix The World (2009) official trailer

Credit: TinyOgg

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